Balancing College Life and a Future Healthcare Profession

By Aspiring Physician Assistant Meghan Kayan

It’s no surprise that the curriculum for college students looking forward to post baccalaureate medical fields is strenuous. Admidst the stress of wanting to get into a good school and trying to make Dean’s list every semester, extracurricular activities and social lives can get put on the back-burner and sometimes completely forgotten. However, as a rising “super senior” I’m here to warn undergrads that a better balance may be in order.

Many college students change their majors. As one of these students, particularly as one who made the decision two-and-a-half years into my college career, I was under the stress of trying to graduate in a somewhat normal timeframe. This meant full course loads packed with physical sciences and upper level classes. As I succumbed to the stressors of my classes, I found myself in the library most of the time. When I returned to my apartment late at nights I arrived home to my roommates asleep or guests saying their goodbyes. What I was neglecting to realize was that my friends were getting their studies done while also remaining an active part of our school’s social scene.

Month after month, I found myself in the same situation. I was lucky enough to have friends that understood that a huge part of who I am is trying to excel in everything I do so my friends never got angry about the lack of attention I paid to them. However, it took me a little while to realize that sometimes you need to reward yourself for the amount of effort you are putting into your studies and future career. For me, this came in the form of allowing myself extra time to simply just hang out with friend even if it did mean being a little less productive at times.

One of the most crucial things I’ve learned through college is that grades and learning are important, but so are the friendships you make along the way. As I saw a large portion of my friends walk at graduation, knowing their time as undergrads is over, I regretted the times I was so consumed with my studies that I overlooked my friendships. Luckily, I realized sooner rather than later that, just like my studies, my friendships also needed attention to survive. By spending all my time in academia, my relationships were failing. A change was in order for both the academic and personal aspects of my life to excel.

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All in all, I’m not here to tell you to completely disregard your school work-if that were the case I would also be telling you to change your field of study. I would, however advise you not to miss out on the experiences and relationships college has to offer. Although is sounds cliche, college really is the best four years of your life and it goes by far too quickly. You won’t realize that truth until you’re in the position of those already graduated. Sometimes you need to prioritize friends over cracking open that organic chemistry book to re-read a chapter. Find a happy medium between your academic endeavors and friendships.


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